A Chill in the Air
My boss at my other position and I were talking about winter weather yesterday, and he reminded me that the school district where we live has already had two snow days this school year, which is rather anomalous before actual winter has officially started.
According to the Farmer's Almanac, we're in for quite the wicked winter. Their exact wording is that this winter will be “unreasonably cold and snowy” in western PA this year, and NOAA’s prediction models indicate a 75% chance of a La Nina winter, which means colder temperatures and heavier snowfall in northwestern Pennsylvania.
Now, I actually like winter and being all snuggly and warm. It's a great excuse for making with yarn and fiber, and you can't exactly wear your warmest handmades in the middle of summer in the northeast.
But I will admit that my first reaction to freezing rain and a snowy/rain mix is "yuck, yuck, yuck." And with the onslaught of unseasonably chilly weather we've been having over the past couple of months, there just seems to be a chill in the air that seeps into your bones.
Perfect for enjoying winter ghost stories, actually.
While Dickens is not my favorite writer (truth be told, Dickens is why I decided to not specialize in Victorian literature and am much more comfortable and better-suited with the Modernists like James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and T.S. Eliot), I do have an attachment for A Christmas Carol. Maybe it's Scrooge's Industrial-era attitude that's so reminiscent of and a precursor to the early-twentieth-century disenchantment that I spent years studying that makes me feel rather fond of this particular tale. Maybe it's memories of the Muppet's version of A Christmas Carol that I have watched every year since I was a child. Maybe it's just that, even though Scrooge is certainly meant to be unlikeable and seemingly unredeemable that a part of each of us recognizes a part of him within ourselves that draws me back to this classic. Whatever the reason, Christmas isn't Christmas without a little Scrooge, and the nip in the air coupled with those grey, overcast skies creates the perfect atmosphere for curling up under a lovely handknit sweater or crocheted afghan or woven shawl with a cup of tea and re-experiencing some form of Dickens' tale so deeply delicious.
I have similar feelings about Dr. Seuss's The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Although not a ghost story, there's still something perfectly comforting about slipping on your wooliest, warmest socks and hunkering down with a mug of hot chocolate to enjoy that particular seasonal classic.
And, did you know that a number of spooky stories happen to also be winter stories? Take the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. Or The Nutcracker, in all its forms. Not quite a ghost story, per se, but incredibly creepy if you think about it. Leonard Kip's The Ghosts at Grantley. Charlotte Riddell's A Strange Christmas Game...
There are some really great chilly-weather reads that will chill you to the bone.